Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Transportation Blues

First let me tell you about my primary mode of transport here. There is nothing called a rickshaw in this city. Well, not at least like the kind we call "rickshaw" in my city. Here an auto rickshaw is a "rickshaw". On the very first day, I asked one of the local people, "How does one go to the airport from here?" and the reply was "Rickshaw". I had an image of myself going to the airport on a tricycle and Shahrukh Khan driving past me!!! The urbane call it 'ric' and I call it an "auto" which was able to put my city in a state of turmoil for 2 weeks and ruin my mom's birthday plans!! The best part is it's cheap! The autos run on meter and they don't rob you like the rickshaw pullers near my college who charge 30rs for a 2km distance!

I conclude, autos are the best and the most comfortable mode of transport in this city as well as mine. The absence of tricycles isn't a big deal!

Next comes the famous BEST buses. You need to follow certain rules if you plan to travel by one. 

Rule 1: Unlike my city buses, these don't stop or slow down anywhere and everywhere. There are proper bus stands at a distance of every 0.5km and it is only there that it'll let you board.

Rule 2: Always board from the rear door. If you get up from the front one, be ready to get an earful from the conductor or in worst case you might be asked to get down. 

Rule 3: The moment you board, be ready to pay the fare. If the bus is crowded you'll require to pay at the rear exit and keep shoving people to the front. I wonder what happens if I literally listen to the conductor and continuously push my away to the front! I'll probably get down at the same stop I got up from!

Rule 4: Do not expect the courtesy of "Aaste Ladies! Kole Bachcha!" or being pulled onto the bus by the conductor when you are half dangling out of it. Here the conductor will see the crowd getting up and the moment he feels that the bus is full, he'll ring the bell and the driver who has no idea of what's going on at the rear end, will start driving! 

Although, this city has its share of thugs like the one who is using my Moto Rockr, people who travel by buses are more helpful. In a two seater, you'll often find a third person being allowed to rest his butt at the edge. I came across a real decent fellow, who gave me his seat in a bus, where I was standing on one foot! 

I conclude, in my city buses may not follow traffic rules but they are more customer friendly!

The transport that is availed by the majority here, is almost not present in my city: Local Trains! Any part of the city is accessible from another by local trains. They are cheap, runs 24-hours and are always packed. You got to be extra cautious about your wallet if you plan to travel by one. If you are in a hurry and you want to cover 35km in 40minutes then this is your best choice. I personally prefer avoiding them. God knows for what reason I feel very scared whenever I travel by one!

I conclude, metro railways are hands-down better!

Taxis both ac and non-ac ply the city at all hours of the day. I haven't yet travelled by one so I cannot comment about the courtesy of the taxi-drivers or the fares they charge. 

I conclude, I have nothing to conclude.

Finally, if you plan to go to somewhere, you'll find people suggesting you all the means of transport, I mentioned. I had wanted to know from a fellow intern, how should I go to Linking Road from Powai and he said: "You can go to Kanjurmarg station in a 'ric' then get take a train to Dadar. At Dadar, you need to shift to the western rails and take a train to Bandra. From there you can take another 'ric' to Linking Road! Or you can travel by BEST bus no. 422 if you have lot of time at hand. Or you can take a direct cab/'ric' which will be heavily taxing your pocket and time!" Choosing the right one was an art, as there is no right choice baby!

1 comment:

  1. I conclude: Transport in Kolkata rocks!!
    In Hyderabad the auto or rics r all driven by robbers masquerading as auto drivers...noone goes by meter and I have to haggle with them over the price in a manner similar to bargaining for a bag at New Market sans the satisfaction of knowing that I won! :(